Waiting on Wednesday – Week 132

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It’s to spotlight upcoming books that I’m DYING to get my hands on!

This week’s WoW is:
The Cage by Megan Shepherd

When Cora Mason wakes in a desert, she doesn't know where she is or who put her there. As she explores, she finds an impossible mix of environments--tundra next to desert, farm next to jungle--and a strangely empty town cobbled together from different cultures and time periods, all watched over by eerie black windows. And she isn't alone.

Four other teenagers have also been taken: a beautiful model, a tattooed smuggler, a secretive genius, and an army brat who seems to know too much about Cora's past. None of them have a clue as to what happened, and all of them have secrets. As the unlikely group struggles for leadership, they slowly start to trust each other. But when their mysterious jailer appears--a handsome young guard named Cassian--they realize that their captivity is more terrifying than they could ever imagine: their captors aren't from Earth. And they have taken they five teenagers to an otherworldly zoo--where the exhibits are humans.

When a forbidden attraction develops between Cora and Cassian, she realizes that her best chance of escape might be in the arms of her own jailer--though that would mean leaving the others behind. Can Cora manage to save herself and her companions? And if so…what world lies beyond the walls of their cage?

May 26, 2015 ● Goodreads

I’m absolutely in love with The Madman’s Daughter trilogy, and so I was super excited to find out Megan Shepherd was writing a new series! While it isn’t a retelling (or at least doesn’t seem to be one...), which I was really hoping for, it does have a really interesting premise– I can’t wait to find out more about this world. It sounds like something original, and with that cover, there’s no doubt I’ll be hunting for this one.

What are you waiting on?

Diamonds in the Rough by Michelle Madow

Diamonds in the Rough by Michelle Madow

Release Date: October 28, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Series: The Secret Diamond Sisters, Book 2
Rated: YA 14+
Format: Paperback
Source: Author
Buy: AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads Website

Read my review of The Secret Diamond Sisters HERE.

All-access doesn't mean no problems.

The three Diamond sisters survived the summer in style after coming to live with their long-lost billionaire father. But making a place for themselves at their exclusive new Las Vegas private school is throwing them any number of gold-plated curves. Savannah's YouTube stardom turns into a Sweet Sixteen reality show extravaganza with complimentary enemies on the side. Dangerous flirtations don't keep Peyton from a gamble that will risk far more than she planned to bet. And when Courtney and the sisters' archenemy, Madison, uncover two explosive secrets, it will rock even this town of glittering illusion and turn their lives upside down all over again.

**WARNING: Spoilers from Book 1!**

After finishing The Secret Diamond Sisters I knew I couldn’t WAIT until I got my hands on the next one. I’m so honoured to have been picked to review this book by the author, and absolutely freaked out when I got the copy in the mail, signed to me in all it’s glory. I believe I’ve mentioned it before but I’ll say it again: something about this series has a TV-show quality to it. After Gossip Girl ended, I NEED another show to satisfy my craving for scandal, drama and boys. This is the perfect substitute! While there were somethings I didn’t like in this one, Madow’s second instalment was absolutely packed with amazing interweaving storylines that build up to several shocking moments in the book.

There was definitely a lot more character development compared to the first book, but my opinions on characters haven’t changed. I still don’t like Peyton, I find her too annoying, but she has improved a great deal. She just needs to think about what she does and the consequences of it because it’s basically a record-player playing the same thing over and over again– you would have thought she had learned her lesson the first or second time round! Courtney is still my favourite character. Something about her level-headedness being so refreshing in this family where two of three sisters are infatuated by material objects and throwing themselves at guys. Loved her frustration and tension with Brett, that was done so well in this book. I felt so bad for her as well, because this story builds up to a HUGE moment and how she handles it doesn’t go down too well. Savannah... honestly, she didn’t make a mark for me in this book. Same old story, trying to figure out who to choose between Damien and Nick (who doesn’t make much of an appearance in this book by the way), and literally, the only thing I picked up from her storyline was her singing career moving forward. That’s about it. Madison, on the other hand, got a lot more interesting. There’s so much more to her and I really like her character now. She also has a huge role in this book, with another secret that shakes her whole world (and is definitely going to be a major part in the next book), so I can’t wait to see where it all goes!

What I didn’t like about the book was this: how flashy it was. I mean, the name dropping didn’t bother me in the first book, but this was pushing it a little too far. I mean, a boy band from the UK called One Connection? HELLO? Not to mention boy band members, Perry Myles, Noel and Kayn... sounds a little too familiar doesn’t it? It just seemed kind of weird considering how many times TV shows, such as The Vampire Diaries and Downton Abbey, are mentioned. It wasn’t just the name dropping though. It seemed like with every pop culture reference there had to be a multiple-sentence explanation as to why it was in the book. To be honest, it kind of hindered my reading experience, and while everything else was quite sound, this was the thing I absolutely disliked, and is something that I dislike with any other book as well.

The end of the book is shocking, but it wasn’t so shocking that I felt like I needed the next book. I liked how the author presented the cliffhanger but I found myself feeling underwhelmed by it all. Hopefully the next book will quench my thirst for the amount of secrets sure to be uncovered. Who will end up with who? What on earth is going to happen to the Diamond sisters and will everything ever be normal again? I really like the title of the final book as well, just like the rest of the titles in this series– a great play on words!

Diamonds in the Rough had so much crazy drama and I enjoyed it so much. In this dazzling world of glitz, glamor and money, secrets and betrayal are never far behind. I can’t wait for the next book, Diamonds are Forever, although I’ll be sad to say goodbye to Michelle Madow’s fantastic series.

▪ ▪ ▪ Thank you so much to Michelle Meadow for sending me a copy for review! ▪ ▪ 

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Waiting on Wednesday – Week 131

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It’s to spotlight upcoming books that I’m DYING to get my hands on!

This week’s WoW is:
Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge

When Rachelle was fifteen she was good—apprenticed to her aunt and in training to protect her village from dark magic. But she was also reckless— straying from the forest path in search of a way to free her world from the threat of eternal darkness. After an illicit meeting goes dreadfully wrong, Rachelle is forced to make a terrible choice that binds her to the very evil she had hoped to defeat.

Three years later, Rachelle has given her life to serving the realm, fighting deadly creatures in an effort to atone. When the king orders her to guard his son Armand—the man she hates most—Rachelle forces Armand to help her find the legendary sword that might save their world. As the two become unexpected allies, they uncover far-reaching conspiracies, hidden magic, and a love that may be their undoing. In a palace built on unbelievable wealth and dangerous secrets, can Rachelle discover the truth and stop the fall of endless night?

Inspired by the classic fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood, Crimson Bound is an exhilarating tale of darkness, love, and redemption.

May 5, 2015 ● Goodreads

I was hoping that there would be another book set in this universe, and thank goodness prayers have been answered. I didn’t think they would be able to top Cruel Beauty’s cover, but they’re seriously done it again. GORGEOUS! I’m hoping this one pops up on Edelweiss soon because it won’t be long before I’ll do absolutely ANYTHING to get my hands on a copy.

What are you waiting on?

The Jewel by Amy Ewing

The Jewel by Amy Ewing

Release Date: September 2, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Series: The Lone City, Book 1
Rated: YA 14+
Format: eGalley
Source: Edelweiss
Buy: AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads Website

The Jewel means wealth. The Jewel means beauty. The Jewel means royalty. But for girls like Violet, the Jewel means servitude. Not just any kind of servitude. Violet, born and raised in the Marsh, has been trained as a surrogate for the royalty—because in the Jewel the only thing more important than opulence is offspring.

Purchased at the surrogacy auction by the Duchess of the Lake and greeted with a slap to the face, Violet (now known only as #197) quickly learns of the brutal truths that lie beneath the Jewel’s glittering facade: the cruelty, backstabbing, and hidden violence that have become the royal way of life.

Violet must accept the ugly realities of her existence... and try to stay alive. But then a forbidden romance erupts between Violet and a handsome gentleman hired as a companion to the Duchess’s petulant niece. Though his presence makes life in the Jewel a bit brighter, the consequences of their illicit relationship will cost them both more than they bargained for.

I will say that the cover was the reason I wanted to read The Jewel SO badly. I mean, that dress? The sparkles? A cover that’s slightly reminiscent of The Selection with the mirrors? I was so in to read this one and absolutely desperate to get my hands on it. However, right before starting this book, I had a sudden suspicion that I might not like this book. It sounded like a mix of Megan McCafferty’s Bumped and Kiera Cass’s The Selection, along with an unsettling clichéd dystopian-feel to it. I also read some reviews and some of them... well. Let’s just say they didn’t paint the brightest picture of this book so my expectations sunk despite the gorgeous cover. I was, however, pleasantly surprised when it came to reading this book. The writing flowed so well, and the author really had built up this world beautifully. While there were some problems with the book, I found myself lapping it up huge chunks at a time and immersed myself into the world of The Jewel.

I think the problem with many dystopian novels today is originality. There are so many novels set in the future and sometimes it can be really hard to come up with ideas that standout. I’ve read a ton of dystopian novels that all sounded very similar, and while I overlooked it due to other factors, it can get annoying if it’s too repetitive. The Jewel seemed to be made up of some of these already existing books. For instance, the scene when Violet’s being prepped before she’s going to be presented in the auction, there’s her stylist, Lucien who really supports her and thinks she’s different from the other girls he has prepped in the past. Sound familiar? If you thought of The Hunger Games, you are correct! Round two: the idea of caste systems or rather ranking by the area you live in in the city. Girls competing in an auction (which doesn’t last too long but still). Any guesses? Yeah, I was right when I thought of The Selection. It’s not just the dresses people!

While I did root and empathise (slightly) with our protagonist, Violet sometimes annoyed me. She’s feisty, I’ll tell you that, but sometimes, she does the stupidest things that make you want to hit your head against the wall. The love interest Ash elicited a similar reaction. I don’t think it was something wrong with the characters but rather the idea of insta-love that kind of through me in a loop. Thankfully, it’s only the second half of the book that it starts, so there’s plenty of other things going on that distractedly me from the ridiculousness of how fast they both fall for each other. The Duchess, on the other hand, was an interesting character. I loved the two sides of her: some of the stuff she does in this book is really evil, but suddenly, she’ll reveal a much softer side to her – you never know what she’ll do next.

If you’ve read some of the other reviews of this book, you’ll notice how much everyone freaks out about the end. Um, THEY HAVE GOOD REASON TO. I was completely blown away by the end! Some characters are not who they seem (and I had a sneaking suspicion), and now I’m dying to get my hands on the next book. So much happens and I had to re-read the last lines over and over again because I couldn’t believe what was going on. Excited and a little bit freaked out to see where it picks up again in the sequel.

When I got to the end of Amy Ewing’s debut, I instantly wished I had more to read. The Jewel is a stunning start to the trilogy that had my eyes wide open, scouring the pages as I devoured more and more of this delicious book. Incredible world building and a plot that thickens with every word, I have no doubts that the next instalment will be as spectacular as this one. Can’t wait!

If you like this, try...

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Sorry I’ve been AWOL!

Hey guys!

Sorry I’ve been so... not “here” for the past week. Midterms are coming round which means fewer posts unfortunately :( Will definitely try to have a post up on Thursday or Friday though!


Waiting on Wednesday – Week 130

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It’s to spotlight upcoming books that I can’t WAIT to get my hands on!

This week’s WoW is:
The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes

When seventeen-year-old Minnow stumbles out of the woods one winter morning, she is haunted and handless and covered in someone else’s blood. She has just escaped the strict religious commune run by a cruel man named the Prophet. In exchange for freedom, she leaves behind her family, her home, and Jude--an outsider boy who changed everything. 

But the real world isn't the sanctuary Minnow imagined. Soon, she gets arrested and placed in juvenile detention. Now, Minnow is being questioned by an FBI psychiatrist about the night she escaped, the same night the Prophet was burned to death in his own home—a murder Minnow may be responsible for.

A modern retelling of the Grimm fairy tale, "The Handless Maiden," in which the Devil orders a girl's hands cut off, Minnow is the story of a girl growing out of the wreckage of corrupted faith.

June 9, 2015 ● Goodreads

I’ve read most of Grimm’s fairy tales, but I can’t really remember “The Handless Maiden.” Nonetheless, I definitely can’t wait to read this one! The eerie cover and title, a dark retelling– all signs point to that this book will be awesome.

What are you waiting on?